CNN President Jeff Zucker has abruptly resigned after admitting he had a relationship with a colleague and didn't disclose it.
Zucker announced his departure from CNN in a memo to staff Wednesday, informing them that as part of an investigation into fired CNN host Chris Cuomo, he "was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years." Zucker said he acknowledged that this relationship "evolved in recent years," but he admitted, "I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn't. I was wrong."
Zucker has been with CNN since 2013 after previously serving as NBCUniversal president and CEO. In early 2021, he said he planned to step down from CNN by the end of the year, but it was later reported he would stay at WarnerMedia at least until the company's merger with Discovery is complete. Zucker has also served as chair of WarnerMedia News and Sports.
The Wednesday announcement "stunned" CNN staff, CNN's Brian Stelter reported. Stelter also reported that the relationship Zucker is referring to was with Allison Gollust, CNN's chief marketing officer, who will remain at the network.
"Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years," Gollust said in a statement, per The New York Times. "Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn't disclose it at the right time. I'm incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday."
Zucker in his announcement told staff he had "nine great years" at CNN and that "I certainly wish my tenure here had ended differently," but "it was an amazing run. And I loved every minute."